JP District City Councilor Matt O’Malley wants to know the future of the public school buildings that will close this coming fall.
Chief among them is the Agassiz School on Child Street. In December Boston Public Schools Superintendent Carol Johnson announced a plan that will close 11 schools, with seven of those schools being vacated. The School Committee has endorsed the plan.
The West Roxbury Education Complex’s four schools will be reduced to two schools come fall. Also the Patrick Lyndon Pilot School is expected to have their English Language Learner (ELL) classrooms take up to 60 more students from other schools, noted O'Malley.
On Wednesday, O’Malley called for a public hearing to discuss the future of the school buildings across the city that will be closed. So far, the Boston School Department has not made any public comments about what they plan to do with the buildings across the city. O’Malley said he let school administrators know that he was filing the order for the hearing.
“I do want a public hearing and I want people to weigh in from the Planning and Education departments. We’re not revisiting the superintendent’s proposal to close these schools. This is a tough thing, but we recognize the tough financial constraints we’re in,” said O’Malley.
“My concern is hundreds of thousands of dollars of property sitting empty. The Agassiz is right down smack in the middle of a neighborhood. I just want to see that the city and school department has in mind. Can we rent or lease these buildings to have money go back into school department’s budget? The figure of a $63-million budget shortfall, (and they) say $10 million will be saved from shuttering buildings and not running (the schools)."
O’Malley suggested that more revenue could possibly be had by creating housing, a community center or leasing the properties to another school.
Some residents opposed to the Agassiz School closing predicted the building would become a charter school.
The order was sent to the Committee on Economic Development and Planning, and a public hearing will be scheduled, and the public will be invited to testify.
“We need to have a transparent government. We are talking about millions of dollars of property, and finding out what ‘s best for the community, and city overall,” said O’Malley.